|What the return of Marc Savard really means to the Bruins||12.03.10 at 11:08 am ET|
Less than an hour after the Bruins croaked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 8-1, at TD Garden, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked if the team was given an emotional boost by the return of Marc Savard after a bout of post-concussion syndrome.
“Boy, you’re giving him a lot of credit, aren’t you?” Julien quipped in his classically wry sense of humor. “It’s nice to have him back, obviously everybody’s happy to have him back, but you know, I think our players, as a whole, even yesterday when he wasn’t in the lineup, decided that they were going to play hard and play well and they did. So he just added to that, I guess, fuel for tonight.”
Savard skated 21 shifts in 15 minutes and 45 seconds, taking one shot while winning 5-of-10 face-offs on the night. But his impact was felt early when he got into the fray early with a fore-check. He played on several combo lines and everyone thought he didn’t miss a beat.
“I mean, he brought a lot of offense today,” two-goal scorer David Krejci said. “He wasn’t on the score sheet but he had a lot of last minute chances. We have big depth now with him and all four lines can score goals and it’s hard for their top defensemen to defend our top guys. So, it’s good to have him back and it’s good to see him and hopefully we will keep doing the same thing we did tonight.”
And that can only help this Bruins offense. It certainly appeared that way Thursday night.
“I think that’s the first eight goals the team has scored that I haven’t had anything on it, but I kept telling Claude I was a presence tonight,” Savard said BEFORE Julien’s post-game observation. “I felt good, obviously had some shifts where I felt a little tired and as the battles wore on, I just stood in front of Timmy [Thomas], so hopefully he can stop it. It was great to be back. The fans were fantastic. I got a little emotional there. It was a little tough to go out on that shift there, but it was special.”
Tim Thomas set the tone for the night, stepping aside before leading the team on the ice for pre-game warm-ups. Instead, Savard had that honor against Tampa Bay.
“I didn’t know what he was doing there. I didn’t even realize. I just thought he was stepping aside, that’s maybe what he does now. I just kept skating, then I looked over and no one was there, so it was kind of nice of the guys, I think they did that on purpose, but it was funny.”
Still, for skating in a game for the first time since May, it was quite the adjustment for Savard.
“I mean, it’s been six months, so it’s been a long time,” Savard said. “Shaking off a bit of rust, but you know, I felt I made some good plays. I felt there’s some stuff I can build off of, some things I can work on still, obviously. Battles I had a little trouble as the shift wore on in our zone a couple times, but I felt good, I felt strong. I got in there a couple times, tried to bang around, didn’t really move anybody, but it was a lot of fun.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins lead Flyers, 2-0, after one||12.01.10 at 7:46 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron did something the Bruins haven’t exactly done a lot lately: scored the first goal of the game. After 20 minutes, the Bruins hold a 2-0 lead over the Flyers.
Milan Lucic did some fancy weaving through a couple of defenders in front, only to get stopped by Sergei Bobrovsky. Old friend Seaon O’Donnell’s attempt at clearing the puck out left more to be desired, as he simply fired it to Patrice Bergeron, who quickly shot it high and into the net. It was the first time since Nov. 18 against the Panthers that the Bruins notched the game’s first tally.
The Bruins have not lost this season after scoring the first goal. It was Bergeron’s fourth goal of the season. Three of his goals have now come on the power play.
Tyler Seguin added his fifth goal of the season thanks to a tough pass from Michael Ryder on a 2-on-1. With Bobrovsky’s positioning forcing Seguin to beat him high, the rookie did just that, going top shelf to make it a 2-0 game.
Shawn Thornton and Jody Shelley danced in the period’s only fight. The Bruins were 1-for-1 on the power play, while the Flyers will still have 10 seconds remaining on their third power play when the second period opens.
Tim Thomas has stopped all 14 shots he’s seen, while Bobrovsky has allowed a pair of goals on 10 shots.
|Tim Thomas third among goalies in NHL All-Star voting||11.23.10 at 3:27 pm ET|
The NHL released the results of All-Star voting by the fans thus far, and the Bruins are far from well-represented. This means Boston fans either didn’t vote, or they, like everybody else, voted for Sidney Crosby.
Crosby leads all vote-getters with 118,755 votes, while no Bruins are currently on pace to get in via the fan vote. Patrice Bergeron is 35th among forwards with 15,020 votes, while Zdeno Chara‘s 41,081 votes are 10th among defensemen.
The most popular Bruins on the ballot is Tim Thomas, who is third among goaltenders with 47,646 votes. The odd part is that the two goalies he trails, Carey Price (71,199) and Sergei Bobrovsky (58,101), were both write-ins. Should Thomas not get in through the fan vote, which ends Jan. 3, he can still be selected in the new fantasy draft format.
Thomas leads the league in goals against average (1.49), save percentage (.954), and is tied for the league lead with four shutouts.
|Daniel Paille glad to be back in Bruins lineup||11.08.10 at 4:13 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When David Krejci needed the assistance of teammates to get off the ice after crashing into the boards head-first on Saturday, minds throughout New England began retooling the Bruins’ lineup while running into plenty of questions. Would Patrice Bergeron move up to the first line? [Yes.] Would Tyler Seguin see his role changed? [No.] Would this mean the end of Daniel Paille‘s 10-game healthy scratch streak?
It seems that the answer to that question is also yes. The Bruins considered dipping into the Providence supply when figuring out who would get ice time in the week or so that Krejci is out, but in the end, it appears Paille will get his second chance when the B’s take on the Penguins on Wednesday.
“We talked about [recalling a player from Providence],” Peter Chiarelli said on Monday. “There’s a couple of players down there that are playing well, but right now, Danny’s been champing at the bit, he’s been practicing very well, and he actually had a strong camp.”
Paille was among a number of Bruins who played especially poorly in the team’s season-opener, causing a turnover that led to a Coyotes goal and posting a minus-one in the 5-2 loss to the Coyotes in Prague. The next night, Paille was replaced on the third line by Mark Recchi and Jordan Caron made his NHL debut. With Paille a healthy scratch, the team won a 3-0 contest, and they stuck with the same forwards in the following 10 games, going 7-2-1 in that stretch.
“We’ve got a number of guys here that can play, and in the first 10 games, we hit a huge roll,” Paille said. “That’s something that’s understandable, and I’ve just had to wait for a time to come into the lineup and try to get back into the position.”
Paille was skating on the third line with Seguin and Michael Ryder on Monday. He has practiced with the third-liners throughout the season, so he does have a sense of familiarity with his two linemates, something he feels will be a positive as he looks to avoid encountering rust in his first game back on the ice.
In his quest to not look like a guy who’s hasn’t played in a game in over a month, Paille also hopes that the positive mindset he’s kept will bring good things. The 26-year-old has focused on staying sharp in practices despite the uncertainty of playing time.
“I find that I’ve been battling pretty hard in practices and in the game-day skates, I tend to give that extra effort, so I’m hoping that it pans out for the first game Wednesday, and hopefully it really pays off.”
|Meet the Bruins’ new second-line center: Blake Wheeler||at 1:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Blake Wheeler left the Ristuccia ice on Monday and walked to his locker, intent on delivering a message.
“Hey guys, I’m playing center!”
The news wasn’t exactly news given that he had served as the second-line center during practice, but even Wheeler could understand that it was a notable topic as the Bruins prepare for the next week or so without the services of David Krejci.
Krejci was diagnosed with a moderate concussion after crashing head-first into the boards following a collision with Blues forward T.J. Oshie early on in overtime during the Bruins’ 2-1 shootout loss on Saturday. He is expected to miss at least a week. When the team returned to practice on Monday, second-line center Patrice Bergeron had jumped onto the first line, with Wheeler sliding in between Jordan Caron and Mark Recchi on the second line.
The Bruins had briefly experimented with the idea of playing Wheeler at center during training camp when it became clear that they’d be without Marc Savard, but ultimately it was Tyler Seguin who stuck as a pivot, playing on the third line. Wheeler, who played center his final two years at the University of Minnesota, is excited for both the opportunity to return to his old position and challenge of regaining the familiarity.
“Today was a bit of the shock to the system, with all the skating and stuff,” Wheeler said. “It’s always nice. I find that it really gets you into the game, gets you involved a lot faster than wing does sometimes because you’re up and down the ice and you’ve got to be really focused defensively. I’ve always liked playing center, so it should be a good challenge.”
Before the team left for its European excursion in late September, it became rather clear that Wheeler would remain a winger, either on the second line or third line. He played a large portion of the preseason with Seguin as his center, but feels that the little time he was exposed to center in camp should be beneficial to what he does going forward.
“It was kind of a crash-course refresher with all the little nuances of playing center,” Wheeler said. “That was huge. It gave me the confidence to know that I could still do that at this level and be effective. For me, that was the biggest thing, just knowing you can do it, and I guess we’ll see how it goes.”
Though familiarity with the center position is something that will come with time, one advantage Wheeler has with this line is that he knows his wingers well. He’s played on lines with both Recchi and Caron this season, and hopes to continue to build chemistry with the two as he adjusts over the next week or two.
“That definitely helps, to have familiarity with guys. Rex always makes it easier on you no matter where you are. That’s always nice, and Jordan’s really strong on the puck, too, so it won’t be any problem for us,” Wheeler said. “We’re going to have to help each other out and pick each other up. It should be no different.”
Wheeler has taken only three faceoffs this season, but has won two of them. He pointed to faceoffs as the biggest burden as he accepts his cameo as a center, and admitted that he hasn’t been practicing them since training camp. As long as he doesn’t lose them clean, Wheeler feels he and his line will be alright.
“That will be the biggest challenge, is the faceoffs. That’s always the toughest part, when you haven’t taken them in a while. I’ll just try to do my best and battle,” Wheeler said. “I know those two guys will be in there helping me out, and trying to get some good wins for me. I guess the job for me is not to lose them clean. As long as you’re in a battle and creating sort of a scrum, that’s half the battle.”
Through 11 games, Wheeler has one goal and two assists.
WILMINGTON — After taking the day off Sunday, the Bruins returned to work at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington on Monday for their first practice following Saturday’s injury to David Krejci. The top-line center suffered a concussion when he hit the boards following a hit from T.J. Oshie in overtime.
With Krejci out, the color-coded lines saw a bit of shuffling. Patrice Bergeron is now wearing a white sweater, signifying he’ll be on the top line with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Blake Wheeler appears set to center the second line, while it looks like Daniel Paille might get some third-line ice time out of this deal. Here are how the lines look based on the practice jerseys.
Lucic – Bergeron – Horton
Caron – Wheeler – Recchi
Paille – Seguin – Ryder
Marchand – Campbell – Thornton
- Brian McGrattan has been placed on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to Providence. The Bruins have indicated that they will not be recalling anybody for the time being.
|Patrice Bergeron, Bruins ready for three games in four days||11.02.10 at 1:46 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins opened the season with games in Prague on back-to-back nights (or days, depending where you were watching it). Since playing the second game on Oct. 10, they’ve been able to familiarize themselves with comfortable spacing between their games. They’ve had no back-to-back games, and there have been plenty of days in between, playing their games on the 16th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 30th of October. It’s a new month, and perhaps a Patrice Bergeron quote from Tuesday sums up the schedule best.
“Now it’s coming.”
The Bruins will hit the road for Buffalo, where they’ll kick off a stretch Wednesday that has three games in four days, including the first of three different back-to-back nights of work in the next three weeks. From Buffalo they’ll head to Washington to face the Capitals before returning to the Garden to take on the Blues at home.
“The whole month is going to be like that,” Bergeron said of the hectic schedule. “We’re going to need to get our rest when it’s there, but get on a roll and just go from there. Just try to be ready for every game.”
Claude Julien can see that having the back-to-back games will be a challenge throughout the month, but his main focus is on a couple of teams with revenge on their minds. The Bruins eliminated the Sabres in the first round of the playoffs last season, and the 2010-11 edition has taken both of its games against Alexander Ovechkin and the capitals this season.
“It’s going to be a good challenge,” Julien said of the stretch. “First of all, going to Buffalo is never easy building to play in, I don’t care what they’re going through right now. They always play us hard, and then you go to Washington, a team that’s going to be looking for revenge, no doubt, after beating them in back-to-back games. And then you’re coming back late. We’ve got to go to the airport, which is at least an hour’s drive after the game, so we’re going to be getting in late Friday night. Then you’ve got a St. Louis team that’s really playing well and you’ve got to play them at home the next night. It’s not going to be an easy week for us. It’s not going to be an easy trip. We’ve got to be prepared for that mentally as well as physically.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Do the Bruins Need to Make Major Change on Defense Before 2014-15?
- Should the Bruins Re-Sign Shawn Thornton?
- Bruins Prospects Look to Preserve Their AHL Playoff Run
- Complete Guide to Bruins' 2014 Offseason
- Final Report Card for Bruins' 2013-14 Season
- Game 6 Keys for Bruins, Canadiens
- Takeaways from Canadiens vs. Bruins Game 5